Hearts of the West delight audiences
Completing daring feats of horsemanship, members of the Stewart family from Gleichen make up Hearts of the West. Hearts of the West performed each day during the Strathmore Stampede and Heritage Days at the Heritage Arena on the grounds.
The group is composed of Gord and Nina Stewart and their children Kaitlynn, Sisko, Taylor, Korrie and Lachlan.
The performance shows off the Stewart’s skills on horseback and several other western skills like trick roping, roman riding, whip cracking, and trick riding.
The family recently took part in the Calgary Stampede parade and were a treat to see for families and children at the Strathmore Stampede. The family has been performing the Hearts of the West show professionally for about 14 years.
“The kids started when they were very, very young on horseback,” explained Gord. He noted that training is non-stop.
“Maybe not seven days a week all the time, but certainly five days a week of training, riding, and physical workouts for the kids,’ he said. That type of training and dedication has earned the Stewarts a place at the Calgary Stampede.
“We have the longest running professional show at the Calgary Stampede that they have had in 100 years, we are very thankful for that,” said Gord.
Speaking with Taylor Stewart after the show on Sunday Aug.6, she explained that her favourite trick to perform for audiences is one called the Tuffy-Twirl.
“I do a wedding ring on top up my horse, with a trick rope, when I am standing up,” she said. She and her horse named Oakley circle the Heritage Arena at a high rate of speed giving the impression that they are soaring through the air.
During the performance the Stewart kids perform fearlessly. Korrie performs with a horse named Fritz, Lachlan with his horse Tex, Sisko(Macaleigh) with her horse named Cowboy and Kaitlynn with her horse Boomer. After the show members of the audience had a chance to speak with the members of the family and pet their horses.
Taylor said she gets a rush when she rides into the arena.
“I have the biggest adrenalin rush and nothing matters accept me and my siblings and the horses. We love fast, fast is easier on the tricks, it’s easier on us and we just we are ready to go always,” she said.
From here the Hearts of the West will be heading to Penticton, B.C. to take part in a parade.
For more information on Hearts of the West, please visit heartsofthewest.org.